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tv   Frontline  PBS  February 4, 2020 10:00pm-11:00pm PST

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>> narrator: before el paso became a target... >> this is n top ten deadliest mass shootings... >> the gunman told police, "i came here to kill mexicans." >> narrator: it was a teing ground for immigration policy. >> this is an invasion! >> this was in fact a pilot program for that zero tolerance family separation. >> narrator: frontline investigates- >> the governmt is trying to break their spirit so that they don't even try to claim asylum. narrator: "targeting el paso". tonight on frontline. >> frontline is made possible by contributions your pbs station from viewers like you.
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thank you. and by the corporation for public broadcasting. major support is provided by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation, ted to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. and by the ford foundation: working with visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide. daditional support is provided by the abrams foon, committed to excellence in journalism. the park foundation, dedicated to heightening public awareness of criticaes. the john and helen glessner family trust. supporting trustworthy journalism that informs and inspires.he thing-simons foundation: unlocking knowledge, opportunity, and psibilities. and by the frontline journalism fund, withajor support from joand jo ann hagler. and additional support from chris and lisa kaneb. (man panting)
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>> man (in spanish): (people shouting) >> help! >> we need cpr! we need cpr! ♪ >> smith: the first call came o from a walrtthe u.s.-mexican border at 10:39 a.m. unshots bang) the killing spree lasted severau s. 22 people dead. ♪ ny of the victims were mexican-americans. eight were from el paso's ster city, juárez.
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>> i know that walmart really well, and i know who shops there-- it's a very popular coming legally across thehoppers border. >> hands up, hands up! >> so i knew the place was going to be packed with mexican shoppers, and also with el paso families because school was getting back in session.>> go! go! go! come on! ten deadliest mass shootings in u.s. htory. >> the suspect alive in police >> smith: the suspwas patrick crusius of allen, texas. what did you learn about the shooter at that time? >> not from el paso. 700 miles away in the dallas area. i heard about his diatribe, his screed, whatever y want to call it. um, i did see that, he said he fully expected to die. and in reality, he surrendered as a coward. >> smith: a four-page manifestoe
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aped online 19 minutes before the attack. >> if you look at his rant, he chose elaso becaus is where the hispanic invasion ofis texas happening. "they're taking our jobs, they're coming to replace us." into custody, told police, "i came here to kill mexicans." ♪ (feedback screeches) >> mic check test, one two three, three two one, ontwo three, three two one. everyone good? >> thank you all for joining with us here today. my name is greg abbott, i'm the governor of texas. d want to let you know... texas grieves for the people ofa el paso i ask that you keep el pasoans in your prayers. we know the power of prayeand the power that you can have by using that prayer.
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>> smith: in the first hours after the attack, governor abbott was reluctant to call the shooting a hate crime. >> bottom line is, mental health is a large contributor to anyen type of vi or shooting violence. e know that's a component to shootings that tace in schools. >> governor abbott talked about how these things a always connected to mental illness. >> ...challenging mental health- based issues. >> he couldn't even bring himself to utter the phrase "hate crime" in, in the press conference. by this point, everybody was everybody is kind of tap dancing around this. and so i jusgot as loud as i could and deliberately chose to ask the question to presentative escobar. anatshe was e only one at point who had the courage to call this for what it was. >> the manifesto nar is fueled by hate. and it's fueled by racism, and
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bigotry, and division.th is someone who came from outside of our community to do us harm. a community that has shown nothing but generosity and kindness to the least among us-- those people arriving at america's front door. (siren blaring) ♪ >> smith: later that day, vernor abbott said that the shoong would be prosecuted as a hate crime. are you from el paso? >> yes, i'm from el paso.w >> smith: you make sense of this? >> i never thought this would happen in our, our city. i do feel heartbroken for the families, especially for the babies, because i have four of my own.go so it'g to take some time ♪ heal.
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>> man (in spanish): ♪ >> i'm hispanic. lived... i've lived here for 73 years and it really, really hurts, you know? because i n't hate you. you're white, i'm brown. to me, everybody's the same, and it really hit home. it doesn't matter where yocome from. (rotors whirring) ♪ >> smith: a few days later, i met with representate veronica escobar, a third-generation el pasoan. >> welcome, yeah, welcome to el paso. >> smith: it's been a hell of a week. >> yeah. horrible. i just got back from the hospital. those folks endured so much...u >> smith: ill have some in critical condition?
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>> mm-hmm. there sure are. >> smith: when did you start to make a connection between what was unfolding at walmart and all of the rhetoric that'seen directed at migrants over the last couple of years? >> when i heard about theni alleged sto, and it was, it was already online, it was starting to spread like wildfire, and it was clear that in that manifesto, there were fox news, by other politicians, and by the person with the biggest bully pulpit, thees lovoice in this country, the president. >> when mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. they're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists, and some, i assume, are good people. so with immigration, you better be smart, and you better be toh, and they're taking yo jobs, and you better be careful. in.have people trying to come
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we're stopping a lot of them. but we're tang people out of the country.u uldn't believe how bad these people are. these aren't people. these are animals.th is is an invasion. when you see these caravans starting out with 20,000 people-- that's an invasion. bu how do you stop these people? >> you can't-- there's no... (laughter) that's onlin the panhandle you can get away with that statement. er (cand applause) >> smith: we asked the trump administration to provide an official who could spk to us about immigration. >> we have a crisis at the southern border...th >> sthey arranged an interview withen cuccinelli, someone who backs the prident's tough rhetoric. the rhetoric used by the president, and by yourself, in referring to immigrants has been extremely harsh. how much does that, do you ink, contribute to what we saw happen at walmart in el paso?
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>> i don't think it contributes at all to someing like that this is a person w got boiling hatred and committing domestic terrorism, that's what that is. th's not caused by rhetori that's a long thought outsi de, we saw with this evil individual's manifesto. >> smith: that manifesto used language that was echoing what was being used by the president and on fox news and sources. >> you know on the other side of this debate we hear nazi allusions and we hear concentration camp comments, but i reject the connection between public debate, even tough public debate, and acts of violence. >> authorities say the shooter drovten hours to get to this walmart here in el paso. this city is 80% latino, and it's at the center of a national debate. >> smith: i arrived in elapaso may, three months before a the attackt walmart. i came here to understand why this border crossing was
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suddenly seeing a dramatic spike in the numr of migrants. i wanted to understand how president trump s handlingis urge. critics charge that the president's approach and his rhetoric have inflamed the crisis. >> the border city of el paso, texas, used to have extremely high rates of violent crime. >> smith: six months before the attack at walmart, trump singled out el paso in his state of the union address. >> one of our nation's most dangerous cities... >> smith: he exaggerated claims about the crime rate, touting the success of a reinforced fence along the border. >> now, with a powerful barrier in place, el paso is one of the safest cities in our country. (cheers and applause) >> smith: el paso's republicank mayor was qu respond. thpresident said, immediately after building the wall, "el paso is one of the safes cities in our country."
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>> my response was, "yes, we are one ofhe safest cities in the country, but we had been before the fence went up." (cheers and applause)ir the fence had not impact on our overall crime rate. >> thank you very mu paso, thank you very much. (cheers and applause) >> smith: president trump came to el paso several days after his state of the union address. >> they've been trying to say, "oh, the wall didn't make that much...": >> smi disputed the mayor's assessment, even though el paso has long been considered one of the safest cities in america, evenfo the fence was erected. >> but i don't care whether a mayor is a replican or a democrat. they're full of crap when they say it hasn't de a big difference. >> smith: and he just said, o "you're fucrap." >> well, he did at that time. but irrespective of that, i correctethe record from day one. >> smi: still, el paso had from the beginning drawn the attention of the trump administration. in april 2017, just three months into trump's presidency, jeff
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sessions, the attorney general, came to el paso to address border security. >> this sliver of land is the ground zero. this is the frontlines and this to reduce illegal immigration in america. >> what is very frustrating to me is how decisions that are made very far away from here, in washington, by peho sometimes haven't even been herethey're making decisions about the places that we live in. we e seen an increase of border wall construction. it's a monument at says those who are on the other side of, of this wall are not welcomed. but the reality is that border communities are very welcoming. juárez and el paso are sister cities. a lot of us have family on both sides of the border. many can cross back and forth to come to school, too to work.
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for us, this is... this is a great place, this is a great place to live. >> smith: el paso has also been a place that has been used as a policy testing ground. >> el paso is used in order to beta-test policies that get scaled up and used in other parts of the country. so, for instance, el paso was the first place where the border was hardened and militarized, going all the way back to that time in the '90s. whether it's the wall, whether it's practices in the court, or whether it's conditions in detention, here in el paso, we unfortunately have been a laboratory for immigration enforcement here on the border. >> smith: the first policy tested under predent trump followed an executive order calling for a general crackdownn on immigra >> the united states of america gets back control of its bords. gets back its borders.
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(cheers and applause) >> smith: spurred by the president, el paso border patrol began to criminally prosecute families who crossed through their sector. parents were charged with illegal eny and detained. >> suddenly, families coming and claiming asylum were being criminally prosecuted for thatr e first time. >> man (in spanish): >> mith: but since children, under law, could not be locked up with their parents, they would be separated and sent to separate facilities. this was the beginning of zero tolerance. >> 10-4, stand by. >> it was a local initiative. the leadership in he cbp inield and the u.s. attorney's office were having discussions sed on the priorities being outlined in the executive order. anthey decided to use that capability, and it was essentially their own zero lerance initiative. >> smith: public defender sergio garcia suddenly had five separation cases.
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>> i thought it was just a fluke. i was expecting to hlong crimal history in these parents. i was expecting to find some o evidenmaybe child otafficking or something, but instead, i foundng. removals.lean records, no prior they had never been here in this country, and they wereg beparated. >> smith: in washington, at the department of homeland security's civil rights division, they were blindsided. scllt shuchart would eventua leave the department in protest. was your officconsulted about this policy of family separaon? >> no. we got told that there was no such pilot. we got the run-around. cbp still wouldn't confirm to my office that there was any such thin >> smith: a high-ranking officer with el paso's border patrol union, wesley farris, told us he objected to the initia >> i had to separate children from their parents.
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that was the most horrible thing i've ever done. you can't help but see ykir own . >> smith: well, put us there when, when you had to do that. >>ahe last one i did, it wa young boy. i think he was about two. it's jus the world was upside down to that kid. take him away, he d fortried to me, and he climbed up on me again, and he was holding on to me. so that, that one got me a little bit. that was tough. i said at that one, doing this anymore. i won't do it." i went back to the supervisor and i told him, "don't assign me to do that anymore." >> smith: did you complain up the chain? >> well, i wanted to.me , none of us were happy about it. but everybody around me was just doing exactly what... we all were told to do this. >> i have put in place a zero tolerance pocy... >> smith: then, in may 2018, six months afterhe el paso child separation program ended, the trump administration decided to scale up the program nationally.as >> at 600 immigrant children were removed from their parents last month.mi
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>> news in just now that so far, the government has separated 2,000 kids from their parents. >> when a stranger rips a child from a parent's arms without any plan to reunify them, it ispp called kidg. >> lawmakers in both parties condemning it as cruel. >> smith: responding to fierce criticism, president trump would sometimes defe his policy. >> if we took zero tolerance away, you would be overrun. >> smith: other times, he wouldt side the controversy and blame it all on democrats. >> do you agree with children being taken away from... no, i hate it. >> at the border? >> i hate the children being taken away.de thcrats have to change their law. that's their law. >> smith: but ultimately, the policy backfired. >> set them free! set them free! >> smith: after protests nationwide, he reversed urse. >> we're signg an executive order. it's about keeping families together. anybody with a heart would feel very strongly about it. we don't like to see families parated. at the same time, we don't want
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people coming into our country illegally. this takes care of the problem thank you very much, everybody. thank you. >> a migrant caravan heading from central america to the u.s. border right now. >> it's a mass of about 1,000 people. >> smith: starting in october 2018, migrants joined together in a human caravan and headed to >> the largest caravan. reportedly made up of more than 4,000 people... >> smith: later, president trump claimed the surge inigrants was a direct result of canceling of zero tolerance. co >> people are ng across the border in droves tget into the system, because they know that in the aggregate, together, th overwhelm the system and will then be released. system of law and border security. >> the caravan grows to an estimated 7,200. >> we are sending a simple marching toward our border.vans turn back now.
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go back home. we will not let you in.th >> shuman smugglers also saw in trump's rhetoric an opportunity. >> every time president trump said, "we're shutting the border, the country is full, er're not allowing anyone in," that provided wol marketing for the coyotes to say, "you better come now. this is your last chance." >> smith: the president says the country is full. we can't take any more people , that there's a crisis at the border. >> the president doesn't care about the law. our laws allow people to come and seek asylum. >> smith: the right of refugees to apply for asylum habeen protected by a u.s. statute for decades. the statute is very clear. any alien-- regardlessf how they got here-- they are entitled to seek asylumti prots. not entitled to asylum, but they're entitled to go through the process thatas been in
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place. le >> it's pretty that most of them don'meet the traditional definition of asylum seekers. most of them at root are trying to make lives better forheir families. the challenge in central america in particular becomethat you have all of these issues of violence, and government impunity, and corruption, and are all coming together that you can't just separate from poverty. (people shouting in distance) >> smith: in el paso, authorities prepared for the possibility of a caravan by running drills. when the mrants kept coming, trump declared a national emergency. >> we're going to be signing a national emergency. get riof drugs, and gangs, and people. 's an invasion. we have an invion of drugs and criminals coming into our country. >> yes, it is real, yes, it is
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in our backyard. somebody call border patrol! >> man (in spanish): smith: one vigilante group, the united constitutional patriots, heeded the call to fortify the border and began toa live-stheir encounters with migrants. >> holy cow, you guys, they're. still comi >> smith: in this video, hundreds of migrants can be seei cr near monument 1, an historic marker next to el paso. >> an open border at monument 1. invasion, guys. gotta build the wall. gotta back trump up. we gotta stop this asylufraud. >> sit down! all the way! >> this tends to flare up as rhetoric about the border heats up and there's concern aboutof large numbereople coming across, and of course we've heard, you know, the "invasion" and... >> smith: you've seen direct linkage between the rhetoric heating up in shington and on the news programs, and the emergence of these militias? >> well, the militia memberswi tell you that themselves. "wre here because our
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president told us that we need to defend the border." (man shouting in spanish) >> smith: this video was shot by anthony aguero, who often trolled the area with the united constitutional patriots. >> (in spanish): >> smith: he posted it on facebook. >> look athis woman! (in spanish): >> smith: the video was viewed,0 over 100 times before he deleted it. >> you guys can thank beto o'rourke, veronica escobar, for this crap. all of you watching, y'a just became baby daddy toll these mother (bleep) here. come out like roaches, out of everywhe. >> we wouldn't be here if this wasn't a nional emergency. if the country wasn't really being invaded, there would bno reason for us to be here. >> smith: jim benvie was the t spokesperson f united constitutional patriots.
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stopping migration, that's your goal, right? >> what my goal is is to wicument the crisis in hopes that these peopl wake up and put their politics to the side. whether you're left or right, the country's being invaded. whether you want to call me racist, or whatever you want tom ca doesn't matter. this country is being invaded. >> smith: later, benvie invited us out on patrol. >> yeah, they're comg in. yeah, les go, we got action again. you guys see what's going on here? no border patrol. is is just us. anybody speak english? (man shoutg) >> you're talking about people who aren't trying to evade ything. they want to be taken in to custody. and wait for the border patrol to come whether there's a militia there or not. >> more people crossing. obviously, these people aren't listening. we've got a group sidown over here cooperating.
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wrder patrol said, "we don't need their help,don't en,"urage this kind of thing border patrol agents on the ground have long worked in partnership with these militia organizations. so there this wink and nod agreemenbetween the militias and the border patrol that allows for this eration to go on. >> a bunch crossed the river right over there. >> yeah we saw them. >>mith: border patrol says they do not endorse orondone private groups taking matters into their own hands, but they welcome assistance from the community. >> they need the reses to solve the problem as it is currently. the frontline is where this work gets done. hau know, imagine coming to work every day and yo thousand people that are waiting for you to book them into the procedure. th 's a difficult situation for our folks to be in. and it's unfortunate that it's not fixed. >> smith: by may 29, the
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situation had reached a breaking point. in the first five months of 2019, el paso's border patro had apprended over 111,000 migrants, an 800% increase over the previous year. they were now seeing an unprecedented number of families. in the past, they had dealt mostly with single adult males. >> mexican males, mainly, the logistics of dealing with thatnt are much diffehan they are of dealing with small children or entire family units altogether. (people talking in background) to put context into that, our facilities have never been updated.so and we still have smaller falities, and all of a sudden, weere just at max numbers. (officers speaking spanish) >> i have 15. 's>> smith: inside el paso holding facilities, there was nono space.
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>> it's numbers like these that had theifacilities bursting at the seam, and they say el paso is seeing the worsof it. >> recent inspections found 900 migrants housed in spaces that were only supposed to hold 125. ia smith: one 19-year-old guatemalan, seba who crossed into el paso with his siblings, descbed the conditions inside. >> (in spanish):
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>> it was not uncommon, for ace designed for 50 people, for there to be 100, 200, 300 people there. >> smith: so how do they sleep? >> any way they can,eally. if they were going to stand up, they would all kind of have to collectivelytand up together. if they were going to lay down, they would all have to kind of collectively lay down together. it's not a comfortable situation. >> smith: advocates say the conditions were made worse by trump's push to end a long- standing policy of releasing migrants pending their court dates. >> you will not be released into our country. as long as i am presid the united states, we will enforce our laws and protect our borders. (talking in background) >> now there are hundreds of people being kept in chain-link cages, and they're just made to wait. they don't have acce hygiene. it smells, it stinks. )
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(girl cryi the way that we treat asylum seekers is horrific, and it is absolutely purposefully supposed to be that way, because the worse that we treat people in detention, the more likely they are to give up their case. patrolth: with borde facilities over capacity, el paso sector chief aaron hull started holding new arrivals for days at a time under a bridge right in the center of town. >> i discovered that situation because i just wanted to take a walk. i mean, it was a sunday. all of a sudden, like, i looked under the bridge, and i saw about 30 people, and they werege clearly re. h ofan, there was a bu kids, and... i'm, like, "what are these people doing under here?" >> smith: two weeks later, nathan returned to the same spot. >> i'm, like, really shocked, because no instead of 30 or 50 of people, and, and they wereds
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crammed up against each other. therwere so many of them. you know, it was very disturbing. but i think the border patrol it-- it was just..press to see >> smith: why would they be eager to have the press see that? >> just e i think they were doing tir "we're in a huge crisis" thing. you kn, "we're picking up all these people now, and 't know what to do with them. this is crisis." >> smith: chief hull would notsp k with us, but farris told us that hull believed the nditions would deter people from coming again. >> hull and the manager below him thought, "we don't want to tice more people to come we don't want to, um... make it nice. we don't want to make it easy for them >> smith: but that ends up >> everybody.en with children... >> smith: families. >> right. >> smith: putting those people in that situatiois pretty heartless. >> right. >> smith: the head of cbp, kevil nan, came to el paso to
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see the chaos at the bridge firsthand. >> cbp is facing an aunprecedented humanitari border security crisis all along our southwest border, and nowhere has that crisis manifested more acutely than here in el paso. (baby crying) >> smith: border patrol has seen more families comingince 2014. yet, advocates say, cbp has failed to adequately handle the situation despite having. more resourc >> from about 2000 to 2006, border patrol was apprehending over a million people. in those years, the border patrol had half of the number of agents they have now and way less money. so it is very hard for believe that with a double ofmb the of agts and budget, they cannot number of familiesarecess the arriving to our border and that are turning themselves in.
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(talng over radio) >> smith: to alleviate the overcrding, the department of homeland security decided to test another new program in elpa . they called it migrant protection protocols. it is better known as remain in mexico. >> a big change is coming for asylum seekers: the government is sending them back to mexico. >> what the remain in mexico policy does is, it forces asylum seekers to remain on the other side of the border while they make their asylum claims. (man speaking spanish) many migrants go to ciudad juárez, our sister city on ther othede of the border. folks ow cdad juárez because it's been a place where there's been major drug trafficking, trafficking of immigrants, extortion, robbery, assault. so remain in mexico is creing basically a long-term population
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makes them vulnerable targets.at >> across the border a man was attacked and killed by dozens oe gunshots in not juárez. another triple murder, it happened last night on the ic pan-amer highway, just outside of juárez. >> smith: in juárez, we met sebastian again, that young man who had spent eight days in an overcrowded detention holding cell. he had been separated from his siblings and sent back here toco me. >> sebastian: >> woman (in spanish): >> sebastian:
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(voice breaking) (sniffles) >> smith: thousands of migrants end up stranded in juárez awaiting their court date. a number of people have criticizedemain in mexico for essentially placing those bathat are seeking asylum ck into mexico, facing dangs. >> i don't deny that there are parts of mexico that are dangerous, but the families are t contained there, nor are >> smith: but these are not.. people that have the wherewithal to go to cancun while they wait for their hearing in el paso. >> they do not have to stay in the dangerous area you describe, is theimple point. and you don't have to go to cancun to be safe in mexico. th >> sone of the safest
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places for migrants is casa del migrante, the largest migrant shelter in juárez. it's run by the catholic church and was at capacity even before the remain in mexico program began. in the courtyard, i spoke to sayda. she was five months pregnant. (in spanish): >> sayda: >> smith: >> si, de guatemala. >> smith: >> sayda: in (c (weeping softly) >> smith: >> sayda
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♪ smith: on the day we visited, an immigration advocate counseled sayda and three other pregnant women who had met each other the so-called hieleras, or iceboxes, whereorder patrol officers hold androcess recent arrivals. >> sayda: >>inda rivas: >> sayda: >> rivas: >> sayda: >> rivas:
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>> woman: r as: >> smith: how many are going toe t attorneys? >> very, very few. i sea huge impediment to due process. attorneys don't want to go down there, attorneys are unsure ife theyle to legally work there. as a matr of fact, not one attorney that we know and trust has agreedke those cases. >> smith: it's certainly not a denial of their due pr right. you have a right to have access to a lawyer. but you reject the chat the mpp program has made it difficulfor the immigrants to receive adequate representation. >> i understand that the ngo lawyers now have to go into. mexico or ca i mean, a phone call will work, too, but there's no denial of access to lawyers.
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>> smith: of the 57,000 migrants assigned to the remain in mexico program, only an estimated four percent have obtained attorneys. >> rivas: >> smith: many have given up their asylum claims and returned home. the government wld say mpp has worked. >> it has shifted the problem physically from one side of the border to the other. it hasn't addressed anyms prob it's created new problems. >> smith: but they would say it's been an effective deterrent, would they not? >> they might say thatbut what they mn is, "out of ght, out of mind." ♪ (helicopter hovering) (siren blaring) >> smith: in el paso, the crisis was far from over.in would erupt in the summer of 2019 at a ci
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ty on the outskirts of town. it was clint, a small borderti patrol det center that used to house adult males, but was now holding children who were not deemed eligible for the remain in mexico program. you've worked at clint. >> yes.>> mith: clint has earned a very negative reputation. >> right.en lint was designated as unaccompanied children, there was no mastraining giveno the agents there to verse them on our policy.as ithrust upon them. somebody just arbitrarily decided, "let's make clint station."ci with that on, that station embarked on a horrible journey. >> smith: under a 1997 federalur ruling called the flores settlement, detention facilities holding migrant children are to be regularly monitored to ensure that children are getting appropriate care.e >> wdn't initially know that childrenere being detained
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there. and then we received information that the were children being held at clint, and so we added it to our list of sites to visit. >> smith: on the morning of june 17, 2019, 11 monitors showed up at the clint facilit where over50 children were being held. >> we later learned that wks earlier, there had been hundreds same facility., detained in that it only had capacity for a bit over 100. >> we manded a tour of clint and visits with the sickest children in custody who were in quarantine. we were denied both. >> smith: instead, the monitors met with the children in a ries of conference rooms >> the children were wearing clothing that was covered in nasal mucus, in vomit. there was a strong stench. they weren't given an opportunity to shower for days,
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sometimes weeks, sometimes not at all since crossing the >> i mean, it was s that there was infectious disease and not enough hygiene to address transmission of disease. and it just felt like an emergent situation, and we just decided, "we have to go public about is." >> smith: two children had already died in el paso border patrol custody. concerned others could die at clint, t monitors took their story to the media. >> ...week at the clint rder facility, we are seeing sick children, we are seeing dirty children.ee we areg hungry children. we're seeing children who have been separated from their parents and other family members. we really have a dire situation here. >> outbreaks of scabies, shingles, and chicken pox were spreading among the hundreds of children. >> toddlers walking inside cells. this is basically a jail set-up. and it's jarri >> well, i would dispute that the conditions are so bad. >> smith: el paso'border patrol chief repeatedly said that the facility had passed inspection. >> we're not keeping people in c
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inhumaditions. as i said, we are inspected constantly. >> smith: president trumsaid it was all fake news. >> i think that the border badly. was treated ver i've seen some of those places, and they are run beautiful. they're clean, they're good. >> smith: president trump had not visited clint. >> shut it down! >> shut it down! >> shut it down! >> (all chanting): shut it dn! >> the truth of the matter is, clint is a symbol for the whole border patrol right now. i would say that we were at the was happening.readiness for what (crowd chanting) most of us are fathers, mothers. you should hold kids. isn't how we just didn't have any choice. >> and shame on us as a country. no child should wake up in a cage.t >> i've e mothers of children who have died in the custody of border patrol. it's not just another strategy
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like remain in mexico, like zero tolerance, like fami separation. it's saying, "you are not weome. we're going to treat you like this and you're going to remember it, and you're going tell your relatives bac home." (gel pounding) >> the committee will come to order.>> mith: three-and-a-half weeks after their initial visit to clint, the flores monitorsfi brought theiings before >> thank you, chaiummings,tee. ranking member jordan, and distinguished members of the commite, for having me here today. i was at the clint cbp facility last month. i want to share with you what i heard, what i saw, and what i smelled. children were hungry. chdren were traumatized. one six-year-old girl,etained all alone, could only say, "i'm scared, i'm scared, i'm scared,"
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over and over again. it was tense. i was making explosive allegations about the abject cilure of our federal government to tae of babies. ...a newborn detained r seven days. and the administration had already come out by that point to say that our findings, our allegations, were "unsubstantiated." >> fabricating stories of hardworking civil ts whothe are protecting the border does nothing to hp solve the problem. my colleagues are lying, andall that the hundreds of pages of sworn testimony from children are "unsubstantiated," are false. >> smith: in depositions, thecr children ded overcrowded cells. several said they had to sleep on cement floors. they were hungry and were denied basic hygiene.
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ies areholding facil overcrowded. there are not enough showers. this should be no surprise to anyone. >> smith: at the hearing, tom homan, the former acting director of ice and for years at borderl agent himself, said that border patrol leadership had been rning congress about overcrowding for months. >> ...that this system is overwhelmed. mo funds are needed so the people can be moved quickly to a more appropriate facility designed for the >> smi: but, he said, the repos were overblown. >> most of these allegations ve been found to be untrue after extensive investigation, but it's too late when that >> smith: and morale among border patrol agents, he said, was at an all-time low. >> they have to wakep every day and see news reports and comments from representatives ir congress that nazis, ite supremacists, that they operate concentration camps, at they knowingly abuse women and children. >> putting cbp agents in ahe position whereare required to take care of children two years old and younger isn't fair to them. >> these agents deserve better. >> but the trump administration is trying to cover up among the
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worst human rights abuses that ede taking place in the un states right now. >> m homan, do you understand that the conquences of separation of many children will be lifelong trauma and carried across generations? is it because these children don't look like children that are around you? i don't get it.>> irst of all, your comments are disgusting. i've served my country-- i'veed sey untry... >> i find your comments... >> ...34 years. disgusting, as welments >> this is out of control. what i've been trying to do in my 34 years serving my nation is to save lives. so for you to sit there and 'ssult my integrity and my love for children, thhy this whe thing needs to be fixed. >> we agree on that. >> and you're the memb congress. fix it! (rooster crowing) >> dariana (in spanish):
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>> woman (in spanish): >> dariana: (speaking spanish) >> smith: last november, we t travelhonduras to interview one nine-year-old girl who had been separated from her father after crossing into el paso. her name is dariana. (children speaking spanish), after crossir father elder was arrested and charged with illegal re-entry. dariana was then labeled as an unaccompanied minor, separated, and sent to clint. this is the first time a childhe inside clint has been known to speak to the media about conditions there. n riana told us that she was held for 11 daysdetention block with 50 other kids. >> dariana: >> woman:
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>>ariana: >> smith: after clint, dariana was transferred to a facility in w york city called cayug overseen by the department of health and human services. she said there, she was treated better. >> dariana >> smith: after three months ina cayuga, ana appeared before a judge in new york city and asked to bsent back to her family. >> dariana:
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>> woman: >> dariana: >> (summoning dog) >> smith: her father said dariana was now angrat him for taking her on their journey. >> elder: >> a border patrol station in int, texas, has become a major political talking point in washington. democratic lawmakers are now demanding something be done...: >> smiid the controversy at clint, chief aaron hull was .eassigned to a border patrol station in detro
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>> late today, the house passed a hotly debated bill to ease the crisis at thborder. >> smith: congress finally approved a $4.6 billion emergency rder spending package. some of it went to improve pdetention facilities in o. what do you think our obligation is to housing and sheltering othose who come knocking door? >> i think that americprides itself on continuing to be the most generous country in thewo d. but the question is, where do you draw the line?er it's not gity to accept a break-in. and weave a million-person break-in over the last fiscal year in, on the southern border. if you don't have a border, you don't have sovereignty or a nation, and we're, we're fighting to maintain that right now. in smith: the fact that people are coming acroshese great numbers frightens many americans, and there are many americans who el this is a
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president who is actually doing something about it. >> i would ask them, what exactly is he doing? nothing that he has done has stemmed the flow of this exodus from central america. everything he's done has made the situation worse. >> in the wake of the shooting in a walmart in texas, president trump will visit the community of el paso owednesda >> smith: the president would return to el paso one last time. it was four days after the >> he should not come here while we are in mourning. this is the site of one of h rallies. statistically, violence went up, hate crimes nt up in communities where he had held rallies. (crowd chanting "u.s.a.") >> smith: near a hospital where victims re being treated, trump supporters clashed with demonstrators. >> (shouting) (crowd chanting "trump 2020")
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>>mith: as president trump left the city, he invited el paso's mayor, dee margo, to drive back with him to the airport. the mayor used the opportuty reform.s him on immigration >> so on the way over there, h brought up the wall and the fence, and i said, "yes, cbp says there is a place for a physical barrier, but it's not a panacea and the whole thing." >> smith: but the president did not want to discuss alternatives to a wall. he insulted the mayor, calling only"-- a rino.an in name >> he said, "you're a rino." i said, "no, sir. i'm not a rino." >> smith: what did he say? >> he just kind of grinned. >> smith: he didn't really care? >> no, he understood.i noink the grin was, "okay, i understand what you're saying," you know. i'm not into drama. my position is, i'd rather light a candle than curse the darkness.es so i'll do thei can and try and convey who we are and the benefit of our, our culture,
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our binational culture. so that's the best i can do. ♪ >> ts country goes into 2020id as ded as it's ever been. award-winning political team-- a two-night special series. yes of reporting-- investigating the conflicts and crossing the divide. >> ...people were angry... >> ...outrage machine... >> ...are th going to start storming the gates? >> narrator: the epic story of how we got here... >> today there's just a lack of respect. >> go to pbs.org/frontline for a look at how the bordergg patrol is stng to fill its ranks and keep the agents it has... >> ey have towake up every day and see news reports that they're nazis,
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white supremists, that they operate concentrion camps. >> i had to separate children from their parents. that was the most ho thing i've ever done. >> and more reporting on the fallout from trump's immigration polici. connect to the frontline community on facebook and twitter, and watch anytime on the pbs video app or pbs.org/frontline. >> frontline is made possible by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. and by the corporation for public broadcasting. major support is provided by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation, ted to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. and by the ford foundation: working with visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide. additional support is provided by the abrams foundation, committed excellence in journalism. the park foundation, dedicated to heightening public awareness of criticaes. the john and helen glessner family trust. supporting trustworthy journalism that informs and inspires.he thing-simons foundation:
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unlocking knowledge, opportunity, and possibilities. and by the frontline jonalism fund, with major support from jon and jo ann hagler. s and additionport from chris and lisa kaneb. captioned by media access gro access.wgbh.org >> for more on this and other "frontne" programs, visit our website at pbs.org/frontline. ♪ frontline' "targeting el paso" is available on amazon prime video.
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big brother is watching... -it's a fact of life. ...looking for crime. ♪ but what munht be a crime in some ies is just everyday liberty in america. -as bad as some of us think things are... americans live in a freer society than most othehuman beings. -we do terrible things sometimes, but we have a system that allows correcti. -tand succeeding generationste a more perfect union, have made the constitution more inclusive.

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